Re-publication: Covenant of Works Question

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Beth Ellen Nagle, Jun 21, 2009.

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  1. Beth Ellen Nagle

    Beth Ellen Nagle Puritan Board Senior

    I am trying to get a better grasp of what "re-publication" means and in what way does it affect the church in theology and practice. I hope to read The Law Is Not Of Faith soon.
  2. Robbie Schmidtberger

    Robbie Schmidtberger Puritan Board Freshman

    Re-publication is an idea championed by the late Meredith Kline and currently, in some fashion or another, by Lee Irons, R. Scott Clark, and Michael Horton. There are many people who hold to this. It has a strong history within the reformed tradition.

    It is the understanding that the Mosaic Covenant was a reproduction of the Adamic Covenant in the sense that it's primary focus was on law (i.e. probation). {this is true to an extent, yet the primary focus is grace. "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt." are the words that preface the covenant God established in Ex. 20}

    Probation in the Adamic Covenant/administration was the reality that Adam was made a moral agent capable of moral righteousness and unrighteousness. He failed that command given by God. Simply it is a command given by God. Carry that over to the Mosaic Covenant; there are many ramifications.

    Many re-publication enthusiasts argue that much of the Mosaic Law was confined to the physical nation of Israel and not her spiritual continued counterpart, the church. For this reason theonomy does not stand. T. David Gordon, professor at Grove City College, argued this and more in a WTJ article. He argued that this is one reason that exclusive psalmody fails because they were songs written for a specific place and time within God's redemptive history.

    Ask yourself one question given this explanation - How are you to read and understand Leviticus and other Mosaic books that reflect this Covenant? This hermeneutical factor helps one properly understand the diversity of God's redemptive acts within Scripture, and moreover, how God continues to operate in the same way.
  3. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    Excellent Explanation Robbie and to add to that the purpose of the republication of the Covenant of Works was to show Israel that they could not fulfill its demands. Its purpose was to point them to the one who could fulfill the Covenant of Works on their behalf the 2nd Adam, Jesus Christ. The most helpful question one can ask when interpreting Scripture is "what Covenant does this belong to? The Covenant of Works or the Covenant of Grace?" And to help one answer that question we need to ask "Who is doing the Work?" Even in the Covenant of Grace their is a legal element where perfect obedience is required but Christ does the Work in fulfilling the conditions of the Covenant of Works aka the legal requirement.
  4. Robbie Schmidtberger

    Robbie Schmidtberger Puritan Board Freshman

  5. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Herman Witsius

    Rich Barcellos sent this to me when i asked about a reference for it.

    The edition I have is den Dulk Christian Foundation distributed by P&R, reprinted 1990. Vol. II, p. 186, Witsius says of the Mosaic Cov.,
    I believe the Mosaic is subservient to both the Covenants of Grace and Works.
  6. Reformed Rush

    Reformed Rush Puritan Board Freshman

    This very subject is being discussed by Reformed lay people, here:

    Input, according to Holy Scripture, and Reformed Confessions, would be most appreciated.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2009
  7. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    We are studying this now in Sunday School. Here are my Pastor's Notes from the 1st and 2nd Class that may be helpful.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2009
  8. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I actually have to disagree somewhat with Robbie's assessment. I, for one, hold to a republication thesis, but I also hold that the fundamental characteristic of the Mosaic economy is that it is part of the covenant of grace. The most common form (and there are MANY forms, as you will see when you read The Law Is Not of Faith) of republication is that the republication does not have to do with how a person is saved (which is by grace through faith, as with Abraham), but rather with how Israel as a nation was to inherit the land. In other words, the republication is a national covenant with Israel whereby, if Israel obeyed the law, then they would keep the land, and if they transgressed, then they would lose the land.

    Now, there is still the first use of the law in the Mosaic economy, but then the first use is still in effect today as well, so one cannot really say that, with regard to salvation, the Mosaic is essentially different than the new covenant.
  9. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I have agreements and maybe some disagreements with you on some of what you wrote Lane. There were death penalties that were imposed for profaning things that would pertain to life in the Mosaic. It just wasn't necessarily a National Covenant as pertaining to the Land and inheritance. There is a Cutting off issue also. As pertaining to the Covenant of Grace it is very evident that Salvation is the same in every adjacent Covenant that might have threats and warnings. Do this and Live is of the Covenant of Works. Live and do this is the Covenant of Grace. I still believe that the Covenants have the Gospel preached in them as it was to Eve, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. But in some the Covenant of Works is also preached as it is called the ministration of death in 2 Corinthians 3, and as it is mentioned in Romans 10:3-5 that the Jews sought to establish their own righteousness which is by the law.

    So as I stated before I believe that the Mosaic Covenant is subservient to the Covenant of Works and Grace.
  10. Robbie Schmidtberger

    Robbie Schmidtberger Puritan Board Freshman

    I feel like I should clarify something... but I don't think we are that far from one another.
    How I learned about the original re-publication thesis is that it holds to a different definition of grace. (Kline was one such person). Horton reads the Mosaic Cov't through the eyes of Galatians; and his view is different than Kline's. (Something made clear by Iron's review of his book here.) So how one answers the re-publication thesis, one must know who is articulating it. Do they agree with Kline's definition of grace (he argues that there is more than one type), or not? {as Lane said there are different understandings of re-publication.}

    On that note...

    My definition of a covenant is that it is a special relationship God made with his people that has a redemptive focus. In each of the covenants God saves his people. Hebrews instructs us that those before the cross were saved by the cross. They believed in the promise that a redeemer would come. We, on the other hand, are saved by looking to the reality of that promise. Almost like having two people looking at a painting, while both are on opposite sides of it.

    Scripture is organized into 3 sections: Covenant of Works, Old Covenant of Grace, and the New Covenant of Grace. Everything from Gen. 1- Rev. 22 is all about Jesus. But while that is the biblical message and the big idea (Lk. 24) God interacted with his people differently through the ages.

    The Noahic and the Cov't of Works have many similarities as the global flood is akin to creation - a fresh start with the same command (yet now mankind is not limited to a vegetarian option). Then the Abrahamic cov't is very different from the others. But when you get to Moses it is something that we do not see before, but it does have similarity to the Cov't of Works and the ANE SV treaties (I believe God did this because His people were familiar with these type of Cov'ts.) In saying that these covenants are distinct and different, they are all within the Old Covenant of Grace. So a question to ask is, "How does the Mosaic Cov't teach us to look to Christ?" God utilized this cov't to do just that for the Hebrews.

    This is a very abbreviated paradigm to how I understand the covenants relation to one another. I do believe the Mosaic Cov't was a re-publication of the Cov't works to an extent as long as it is in the context of the Old Covenant of Grace. But I acknowledge my view to not be the one popularized by Horton, Irons, Kline, Marburg, and Gordon. Often Covenant Theology squishes all the different covenants into one big one. This is a mistake and attributed to the rise of FV. Covenant Theology properly celebrates the differences between the covenants in the context of the unity of Scripture.
  11. Beth Ellen Nagle

    Beth Ellen Nagle Puritan Board Senior

    Robbie wrote:
    I am not quite grasping this yet. Can you or anyone elaborate?
  12. Robbie Schmidtberger

    Robbie Schmidtberger Puritan Board Freshman

    Another way of saying this is, that there are many facets to how God works with his people.

    Taking Luke 24 seriously everything within Scripture is all about Jesus. But how does Samson's birth teach us about the gospel? I can ask the same question for anything within Scripture. A major problem to the historical redemptive hermeneutic is how does this passage explain and point to the gospel. (something very helpful here is the "Gospel According to" series published by P and R.) But again Luke 24 says all Scripture is about Jesus.

    Covenant theology helps us read Scripture by celebrating its diversity within the context of unity. We see how God worked with his people in exodus and exile. Those moments are infinitely applicable to our lives today. While God does not typically lead his people around with a cloud showing us to do; he does reveal his will to us.

    does that help?
  13. Beth Ellen Nagle

    Beth Ellen Nagle Puritan Board Senior

    I think I do understand this in general about Covenant Theology. Is "re-publication" just simply an instance of the ways in which God has worked with his people? How is it significant for us today?
  14. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I've read part the way through "The Law is not of Faith". I find it a difficult read.

    I haven't made up my mind on this, and great Reformed minds disagreed on it, anyway.

    Certainly the Non-republication view seems simpler and seems to agree better with the WCF. Simplicity shouldn't be the only factor, anyway. Some have tried to make things too "simple" and treat the Covenant of Works as if it was purely and simply a Covenant of Grace

    It's worth also printing this out and reading it before or after reading "The Law is not of Faith":-

    It's also worth reading R. Scott Clark at his page on a potted history of covenant theology. The Republication Thesis has revived somewhat partly as a response to the possible oversimplification of the covenants by Johnnie Murray, the Theonomists, Norman Shepherd and the FV. Johnnie Murray was orthodox; others have gone in unorthodox directions.

    In a sense the Covenant of Works is always posited by Moses or Christ as the standard we cannot reach, to encourage us to look to God's grace. This does not mean that the Covenant of Works is an integral part of the Old Covenant or New Covenant.

    E.g. Moses said to the Israelites,

    You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 18:4-5) (NIV)

    This could mean that the statutes were life-giving in the sense that they offer the possibility of a real life, and if we follow them they are from one aspect a gracious provision, because by following them by grace we escape a horrible life of e.g. incest - in the context - and that isn't worth living.

    If we take it to be a republication in some sort of the Covenant of Works, it may be purely hypothetical in order to encourage the Israelites to turn to grace.

    In the same way, surely our Lord Jesus was being hypothetical when He e.g. offered life to the rich young ruler in return for keeping the commandments. We don't say that there was a republication of the covenant of works as an inherent part of the New Covenant because of that, do we?

    Re the idea of the Republication of the Covenant of Works pertaining to the Israelites tenure in the land, this still involved grace as well as the fruits of grace, works, because unless enough of the Israelites approached God by grace and had their hearts and lives transformed, the nation was going to ignore the ethics and discipline God had given (including the many death penalties that divide theonomists from other Reformed people) and fail the test anyway.

    There is also something akin to this in the New Covenant anyway, because unless enough of the members of God's visible church have their hearts transformed by God's grace and therefore bear fruit, and keep to the ethics and discipline Christ has given to the church, we're not going to see the growth of the church and advance of the church on earth (the Land) we want to see.

    I'll finish "The Law is not of Faith", but I'm thinking that the republication thesis may not be necessary, may overly complicate matters from a few "rogue" texts, may not be taught in Scripture and may not be Confessional.

    Interesting, though.

    Quote from Beth
    I think I do understand this in general about Covenant Theology. Is "re-publication" just simply an instance of the ways in which God has worked with his people? How is it significant for us today?

    It is quite important. On the other hand great and godly Reformed doctors have disagreed about it while often agreeing on most other things, so how important it is is debateable. It may have implications against Federal Vision, Norman Shepherd, New Perspectives on Paul, Theonomy and other things; but even if you don't subscribe to republication, these things can be disputed on other grounds. If you accepted republication, you might have a greater sense of the graciousness of the Abrahamic and New Covenants in comparison with the Old (Mosaic) Covenant; on the other hand you might not. If you accepted republication you might see less continuity between the Old and New Covenants and you might therefore be less likely to be a theonomist - or at least a hot and spicy theonomist. Maybe?

    I have found "The Law is not of Faith" quite a difficult and tedious book, and I consider myself to be (moderately) intelligent. But I wanted to understand Covenant Theology in greater depth and the relationship between the Mosaic and New Covenants in greater depth.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  15. Beth Ellen Nagle

    Beth Ellen Nagle Puritan Board Senior

    Thank you so much for this. This is very, very helpful.
  16. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    It does have a history in Reformed thought, and is not a novelty, as it thankfully being pointed out.

    For what it's worth, I agree with Lane that republication, as I have understood it, primarily deals with the relationship between God, Israel, and the land, and theologically speaking as a larger illustration of our inability to keep the law, and of our need for the One who is our perfect law-keeper.

    When I began to study this at WSC it helped me to get a much better handle on Deuteronomic themes as they played out in the later historical and prophetic books. I find it a useful category for OT/NT theological relations.
  17. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Republicationists of course do not deny that those under the Mosaic Covenant were saved by grace and do not deny that the Mosaic Covenant was largely or completely one of grace. So in this sense it's not dispensationalism, but some may see it as getting closer to dispensationalism in some sense.

    But Republicationists believe that in some sense a works principle came alongside the grace principle in the Mosaic period to fulfill some purpose(s). There are different views here which makes it more complicated: the works aspect may have been an aspect of the Mosaic stage of the covenant of grace or a separate works covenant that came alongside the promise/grace covenant of Abraham.
  18. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    A covenant of works was made with Adam (LC 20 & 22). A covenant of grace was made with the Second Adam (LC 31). The rest of mankind is subsumed under one or the other of these two public heads. This is confessional covenant theology.

    To say that a "covenant of works" was made with national Israel requires a fair amount of finagling and reworking of the confessional definition of this theological term. The Confession states that the law was republished at Sinai (19.2), not a covenant of works.
  19. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    Re-Publication of the Covenant of Works (1) Heidelblog

    Republication of the Covenant of Works (2) Heidelblog

    Re-Publication of the Covenant of Works (3) Heidelblog

    We've apparently been there and worn the Confessionalist T-Shirt.

    -----Added 6/22/2009 at 11:44:23 EST-----

    Exactly! As the Posts by Dr Clark indicate in the above links that blasted Dispensationalism has clouded the ability of good Covenant Theologians to address their similarities as well as the nuances of difference in their positions.
  20. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Explain to me this:

    Where is Republication in the Confession of Faith? Answer is it is not there.

    The Mosaic Administration is 100% Grace. No "Works" to be found here.
  21. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Quote from Casey Bessette
    To say that a "covenant of works" was made with national Israel requires a fair amount of finagling and reworking of the confessional definition of this theological term. The Confession states that the law was republished at Sinai (19.2), not a covenant of works.

    It seems an infelicitous name for this concept, even if one holds to it, because of course Adam would have saved himself and his posterity eternally by works, but Republicationists do not mean that Israel or any Israelite could do this.

    There seem to be a number of levels of confusion among Republicationists regarding this concept:-

    (a) The name of the doctrine - The Republication of the Covenant of Works

    (b) Many different ideas about how this Republication relates to the Covenant of Grace and/or the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants in particular.

    (c) Different ideas about its purpose and what it was intended to achieve.
  22. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    I agree it is another confusing and unnecessary distinction or term.

    There have been several administrations of the Cov of Grace. I like using the Scripture terminology when possible so administration or ministration to me is clear. Not really a new covenant but a new administration of the covenant called new because it is so much better. We can say as the OT did it is a new covenant written on our hearts, with the Spirit sent to us when Christ ascended, but it is the same cov of grace written on our hearts.

    2 Cor 3:6-11
    6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

    7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

    8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

    9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

    10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
    11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. KJV

    What we have here is clear covenant theology.

    After Adam all were under the Cov of Grace who would be saved.

    It was Administered differently at times but still the same covenant of Grace

    Through Moses the Cov of Grace was delivered in terms having a similarity to the Cov of Works, or the scriptural term used for it above, Ministration of Death or Condemnation, do this and you shall live.

    This is not a republishing of the Cov of Works, but a ministration of the Cov of grace. It just happens to be in terms similar for the reasons well explained by others previously in this thread, to point them to Christ in their inability to keep perfectly pleasing in God's sight, the need for serious and strict adherence to holiness, the need for an atonement for sin, etc.

    Of course the 10 commandments was before Moses and the nation of Israel.
    The civil laws for the nation and the ceremonial laws for worship, which also were a shadow of things to come, and a means to manifest the distinction of those in the visible covenant from the world. These are done away as the nation is done away as is clear in many scriptures including Acts 15.

    The Cov of Works is of course binding on all and can be preached as the law driving people to see their need of the gospel of Christ.

    No need to complicate and confuse all of this.

    As for Israel thinking it was about promises of land, prosperity and earthly temporal blessings, well I will let the scriptures show this was also only a shadow and type and not a the real intent of any part of the law or laws and ordinances. Their inability to keep the laws was a picture of how God sanctifies us gradually and we still commit sin though we do not continue in it or practice it if we are converted or for those who continue in sin the kingdom and promises are not granted to them. These things were examples to US!

    Heb 11:13-16
    These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country
    We are told that They by faith sought a heavenly land not an earthly land which the administration offered, but it was typological primarily.
    It was never really about the land either, it was an example, it was a type, it was for the church of all ages, it was not for a dispensational nation of Israelites or a future group of that race. The accidental fact they did get more land sometimes when obedient and less when not obedient was still just part of its being a type.

    1 Cor 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  23. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The new republication theory does not maintain with old divines that the works element was hypothetically proclaimed in subservience to the covenant of grace. Rather, its adherents maintain that the covenant of works (law) really operated side by side with the covenant of grace (promise), which is an altogether different proposition and one which must be deemed in all honesty to be inconsistent with the Westminster formularies.

    Hebrews 4:2 suffices to remove all doubt that Israel's possession of the land was a matter of faith.
  24. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    To piggy-back on Casey Bessette and Matthew Winzer's very succinct posts above, wherein are by few words is demonstrated the primary frame within which the Mosaic Covenant is to be understood, I find Turretin's expressions to be quite helpful:
    And thus clarifying:
    Francis Roberts, in his Mystery and Marrow of the Bible, addresses the issue well, concurring with Turretin that the Mosaic was wholly a covenant of grace; and in doing so, he quite succinctly yet thoroughly interacts with the three prevailing opinions (1. That the MC was a CoW; 2. That it was a mixed covenant; 3. That the MC was a "third covenant," subservient to the CoG). It should be noted that in doing so, he notes the difficulty of the issue, and states of the second view that, "it [is] very plausibly represented, and divers things therein related [are] true."
  25. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    I think Herman Witsius is helpful in describing it as a National Covenant of Works which drives the Israelites to Christ for Forgiveness, Mercy, and Grace. One of the quotes I find helpful is Paul's exclamation

    To try to claim the Sinaitic Covenant is one of Grace without distinguishing the Covenant of Works aspect is careless.

    -----Added 6/24/2009 at 02:52:03 EST-----


    You may find this review helpful. I'm looking forward to purchasing the book and reading it as well. :book2:
  26. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    How can it be "careless"? Especially when the Westminster Divines plainly say that the Mosaic Administration (using Turretin's words) was but a dispensation of the One Covenant of Grace.

    This quotation from Witsius is key:

  27. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Brother, where do the Westminster Standards distinguish this "Covenant of Works aspect" in relation to the Mosaic covenant? :scratch:
  28. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Wayne, you might think it wrong, but I certainly wouldn't call it "careless," as it is quite evident that people of all positions are in fact taking great care to express themselves accurately.

    But more to the point, no one is denies that the law is republished, and that it is declared that "the man who does these things shall live in them." This does not, however, mean a re-striking of the covenant of works. The question is, Was a works-covenant made with Israel whereby she maintained or lost the land of Canaan (speaking simply). Two important answers come immediately to mind:

    1.) If so, then how did Israel ever possess the land? If we say he accepted imperfect obedience, or a sincere, honest effort or desire to obedience, then how is this a covenant of works? A sincere faith and desire unto holiness is exactly how we describe the terms of the covenant of grace.

    2.) The land was promised to Abraham and his seed (that is, those believing). I ask then, did Israel receive/maintain the land by works or by faith and promise?

    In short, I don't find it helpful to speak of the Sinaitic covenant as a national Covenant of Works. Note well that this is not to say those who reject republication fail to see the "works element" of the covenant. For instance, see the Turretin quotes above. This is why the Mosaic covenant is referred to as a legal testament, or economy, or dispensation of the Covenant of Grace. It has the appearance of a covenant of works based on the rigor of the law and its overbearing yoke of carnal requirements, all the while simply being an "unusually administered" (to use Roberts' term) covenant of grace.
  29. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    You've proved my point. Did you read the rest of what Herman says in the article? He speaks of it being both co-existing although many want to claim it as strictly a Covenant of Grace like yourself. In this instance he explains why it cannot be a Covenant of Works strictly speaking as there was a Grace aspect where Israel was shown they needed a Savior to enter the Promise Land. The Mosaic/Sinaitic Covenant foreshadows the People of God realizing their need for a Savior to enter Heaven and that is what the republication of the Covenant of Works with National Israel accomplishes.

    -----Added 6/24/2009 at 11:38:48 EST-----


    I believe that the Divines erred in equivocating the Decalogue with the Moral Law and making it a Creation Ordinance. As Paul states below the Law as is in the "Decalogue" will judge those who were under its demands but there are those who will perish apart from the law because it wasn't given to them.

    It is obvious from this passage

    that the Decalogue was not a Creation Ordinance and if you plan to argue it was please deal with the Scripture. I've already quoted Paul stating

    And no one has dealt with it or refuted Paul's words here with regard to the Covenant of Works aspect of the Sinaitic Covenant. I'm not saying that the republication of the Covenant of Works with Israel was individual but National and its purpose was to show them that they could not inherit the Promised Land on their own accord as well as individually they could not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven without a Perfect Law Keeper.

    I embrace the WCF as my Confession but it is a Confession authored by men and I believe in this instance they erred. :eek: Time to break out the Boulders and let 'em fly brother. :p

    -----Added 6/24/2009 at 11:49:09 EST-----

    I do find it helpful Paul as it is the Covenant lense by which I interpret other passages in Scripture. But I appreciate your thoughts on the matter.
  30. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Not every single time the term "law" is used in Romans does it mean "the Law of Moses" (which would actually mean the whole thing, and not merely the 10C).
    The Gentiles do in fact have "law", it is the divine moral Code, imprinted on every image-bearer. It has an exceeding close relation to the written Mosaic Law as v15 amply demonstrates.

    God's moral will is adequately and accurately summed up in the Decalogue, the moral cornerstone of the Law. The 10C have a unique status in the Mosaic Law. That Law itself makes this distinction, calling them "the Ten" (Exodus 34:28).

    Therefore, it makes perfect sense to understand that the moral sum equates to a perfect, human, moral constitution. Of course, that perfect constitution is marred, and no longer perfect; it is fallen; it is not accurately read, for to read it aright would be to come face to face with the image of God--a thing sinners refuse to do, even in part. As Calvin so penetratingly put it at the beginning of the Institutes:
    It would be a mistake, in my opinion, to drastically separate the law in the heart of even the Gentiles, and the Decalogue.

    If you look at 1Tim.1:9-10, you find there Paul referring to a litany of sins, generally following the Decalogue, and he advises Timothy that it is good to use "the law" (vv7-8) in its proper place. Obviously, it even resonates with the Gentiles; it isn't simply there for those who have already cognitively accepted the Bible as divine revelation.
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